1. He is best known for his television roles as Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as Hawk on Spenser: For Hire and its spinoff A Man Called Hawk, and as Dr. Bob Sweeney in the Academy Award-nominated film American History X.
2. Avery Brooks was born in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Eva Lydia , a choral conductor and music instructor, and Samuel Brooks, a union official and tool and die worker. When Avery was aged eight, his family moved to Gary, Indiana, after his father had been laid off from International Harvester.
3. Brooks has said: “I was born in Evansville… but it was Gary, Indiana that made me.”
4. His maternal uncle Samuel Travis Crawford was a member of the Delta Rhythm Boys.
5. “Music is all around me and in me, as I am in it,” Brooks has said.
6. He later completed his B.A., plus an M.F.A. from Rutgers University in 1976, becoming the first African American to receive an MFA in acting and directing from Rutgers.
7. Hawk became a popular character and, after three seasons, Brooks in 1989 received his own, short-lived spinoff series, A Man Called Hawk.
8. Brooks said of his role as Hawk: “I never thought of myself as the sidekick…
9. Brooks returned to play Hawk in four Spenser television movies: Spenser: Ceremony, Spenser: Pale Kings and Princes, Spenser: The Judas Goat and Spenser: A Savage Place.
10. Brooks is best known in popular culture for his role as Commander—and later Captain—Benjamin Sisko on the syndicated science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which ran for seven seasons from 1993 to 1999.
11. Brooks won the role of Commander Benjamin Sisko by beating 100 other actors from all racial backgrounds to become the first African-American captain to lead a Star Trek series.
12. In landing the role, Brooks also became the first African-American male actor in a starring role in a first-run television drama since Clarence Williams III had starred as undercover police detective Linc Hayes in the iconic ABC “hippie” cop drama The Mod Squad from 1968 to 1973.
13. Brooks was the second in American television history to do so since Bill Cosby co-starred with Robert Culp in the NBC spy series I Spy from 1965 to 1968.
14. Brooks also directed nine episodes of the series, including “Far Beyond the Stars”, an episode focusing on racial injustice.
15. The story chronicled the life of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 and held until 1853, when he regained his freedom with the help of family and friends.